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This post is about my first ‘planned’ walk around Paris. Although I’ve been here before and am familiar with the major landmarks, I wanted to see some of the things I had put off previously.

Two Rules: No taxis and no asking-for-directions. I knew this would make me read in advance and plan my routes. I wanted to use the Vélib’ but I had left my UK credit card (you need a PIN credit card for the service) at my hotel – and I was too lazy to go back.  It didn’t take long to regret it…  Thank God for the iPod, comfortable shoes and the Paris Metro.

Three Destinations: Take photos of Paris from the top of the Montparnasse Tower; Visit the Institut du Monde Arabe; and finally to see the Centre Pompidou again – this time from the inside.

I started late this morning with a good coffee near the Eiffel Tower close to my hotel. The weather could not have been better.  After a reasonably long walk, I arrived at the Montparnasse Tower. I’ve always hated the way this ugly glass tower stuck out. It’s horrible from any angle and from any distance and, in my opinion, it ruins the gentle flow of the Paris skyline.

This is why I wanted to be on it when I took these shots… Just look at how this gorgeous city has been woven together.  The boulevards, the cafes, the trees, the architecture – I could go on for a while…

I then headed to the Institut du Monde Arabe – stopping for lunch on the way.  I had read about this building – in an architecture magazine when I was in Denmark back in 1998!  It has a very interesting design on its outside walls.  The architects incorporated the look and feel of a Mashrabiya to the whole facade.  What I love about it is its ever-changing lighting as it closes and opens the apertures within the islamic pattern.

The building did not disappoint, the staff were pleasant, and the collection in the museum was interesting.  However, they had no information in English.  I used the Arabic guide. This institute is supposed to bring a better understanding of the Arab culture to Europe!  Most Europeans don’t speak Arabic, and those who do know Arab culture better than the Arabs.  Their Arabic website is poor with broken links and missing information, and their English website is in ‘technical maintenance’.  I hope they fix these small issues soon.  It’s a place worth preserving, and more importantly: maintaining.

My final stop was at the Centre Pompidou, the most visited building in France.  I have been here before but never had the time to go in for a good look around.  Today I spent two hours and they felt like ten minutes.  If you love art, design, photography and modern art – this is a place where you should consider disguising yourself as a tour guide – and moving in.

It was great to have the time to do this today.  My business trips to France on previous occasions have not allowed me the time to explore.  Today was a nice opportunity to find even more reasons to love this amazing city.


    • 7mood
    • Posted 27 September 2009 at 7:49 am
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    im sooo jealous 😉

    • Wait till you see the next post 🙂

    • Mathai
    • Posted 27 September 2009 at 8:20 am
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    thank you for this detailed post! I hope you have time for more walks like this and we can get to see places we’ve never seen before. Bon chance mon ami! 😉

  1. Last time i was there, i shot almost the same shots but with a disposable camera -no digital at that time yet-
    i believe the best think to do in Paris is walking and especially at night under the amber street lights…which i think would look nice in photography
    do they still serve free fries at the bars and cafes’?

    • I love walking in Paris… My legs are killing me 🙂

      I prefer the daytime though as I’m more a cafe man than a bar man 🙂 and no – there is nothing fre in either…

    • Q80BOY
    • Posted 27 September 2009 at 4:29 pm
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    salut! =P

    gr8 shots ..

    .. loved the one u took in the metro =)

    • I think the appropriate reply to Salut is Halaw 3aini…

      Thanks 🙂

    • casttro
    • Posted 27 September 2009 at 10:39 pm
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    last one 100%

    • Means a lot coming from your experienced eye. Thanks.

  2. Stunning photos. Your photos are inspiring me to plan my next holiday.

  3. I love this CITY
    GReat Fotos as usual
    My best PAMPIDOU pics
    Enjoy Paris!

    • Thank you… I’ve already left Paris. I’m sure I’ll be back again before long.

  4. Amazing shots, very beautiful city! I do like to walk around in cities such as these, Paris is beautiful but I’m not too keen on Parisians though, they can be very mean!

    • I agree about the Parisians but I think it’s more an innocent ‘arrogance’ that they have. They don’t mean to be mean…

      I like it – it reminds me of us in Kuwait 🙂

  5. Great plan to visit Paris by foot and the “rules”. Never been there before. Now I have a plan, by foot or cycling. Thank you for the inspiration on the angles for shooting pictures. Have learned a lot! Are those bicycles for rent?

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